I’m a white girl in every stereotypical way. I have no butt, no boobs, no hand-eye coordination, no athletic ability, etc. The list goes on and on. But my stepdad — who is essentially my second dad, as he’s been married to my mom since I was 5 years old — is multiracial. Black, white and Cherokee, to be exact. So I’ve always been a bit sensitive to messages targeted towards a people with a mixed ethnic background. As Lori George Billingsley indicated in a PR Week column published last week, marketers who want to connect with a multiethnic audience should avoid taking a broad-based approach and instead “create specific cultural relevancy with each ethnic group to strengthen their brand.
Targeting each audience with its own unique Facebook page or MySpace group is one good way to accomplish this task, I think, and Billingsley presents evidence in support of that idea. She said minorities are more apt to frequent social networking sites, and Hispanics are actually the fastest-growing group of Internet users. African-Americans account for about 11 percent of U.S. Internet users, and about 90 percent of Asian-Americans are online, too.
Billingsley advocates using social media to strengthen brand relationships with minorities. Expanding on that idea, I think marketers should consider using social media reach out to minorities of mixed ethnicity, too. If that approach proves successful, it might resolve some of the identity issues that arose in the media during last year’s presidential race. Perhaps it might also encourage the population to stop thinking of people as white or black or Cherokee, but rather a mix of all three fascinating ethicities. I know my stepdad would appreciate it.
On another note: I’ve been encouraged by some of the small, local businesses I’ve noticed embracing social media. The Boston Beanery, the Morgantown-based restaurant chain I worked for in college, sent out a message to Facebook users today reminding them that the Beanery’s famous chicken chimichanga special was available today for Cinco de Mayo. Welcome to the 21st-Century!